Recap: Our Four Simple Goals

asiancajuns-goals

Remember when Lar and I wrote out our four simple goals in November here and here? Well, here’s how we did.

Cath’s Goals:

1. Make something pretty and fun for the home:
Done! I made a fall wreath for my front door. I created a bunch of felt flowers and glued them to a plain grapevine wreath I found on sale at Michael’s. It ended up being incredibly lopsided, but I was still pleased with the outcome. I also made a lot of my Christmas gifts this year, which I think kind of counts towards this goal.

2. Don’t shop for myself when I’m shopping for gifts this season:
Pretty much achieved. In past years I would almost always buy myself a little something for myself when I was shopping for others. The only time I did that this year was when I was bought Lar’s presents at Sephora. I bought her two Josie Maran make-up gift sets and then ended up buying myself the Argan Beautiful Eyes eyeshadow compact. That’s it. I swear! I did get some clothes (see #3) during the holidays, but they were in no way related to holiday gifts and all but one item was purchased with a gift card.

3. Streamline my style:
In progress. I definitely worked on this during the holiday season. I went through my closet in November and gave away items that are no longer my style. I purchased a few items of clothing on Shopbop.com (Funktional sweatshirt, Jeffrey Campbell boots, Madewell pants) and a sweater at COS in Glasgow and they all go along with the simplified style I’m working towards.

4. Make oatmeal or green juice every morning:
Slight fail. I probably achieved this about 30% of the time. December got so hectic with finals, work, and gift shopping that grocery shopping didn’t really happen – and you have to do a lot of food shopping if you’re juicing on a consistent basis! So, this is one of my goals that I’m bringing over into 2014.

Lar’s Goals:

1. Random acts of kindness:
Argh! Nooo. I actually forgot this one. But I think in some ways it was the most important. Harumph. I’m not gonna feel guilty, but I do want to make a concerted effort to do as many random acts of kindness that I can this year.

2. Stay calm and centered during the holidays:
Yes! I felt fairly calm and that has never happened before. Perhaps it was the fact that Matt and I flew home on Christmas day so maybe we missed the inevitable holiday hullabaloo. Highly recommend making this goal every year.

3. Move mah body!
I did actually do this! Maybe it was just three times and it happened in the space of the last week and half. But that’s a step in the right direction, right? Right?

4. Draw/Sketch:
Shucks. Nope. Did diddly.

5. (Bonus round) Don’t feel guilty about not doing all the goals.
I actually kind of stuck with this one. I’d really like to do more random acts of kindness, but I’m not wasting the energy kicking myself for not doing them — I’ll put that energy into planning some good kindness tidbits for the near future.

In conclusion, we’re not perfect, dagnabbit! But in all seriousness, I really loved this experience. Working towards four achievable goals even during the craziness of the holidays helped keep me focused and sane. Thank you to MichelleK, Mia, Diane, and Christina for sharing your goals! How did ya’ll do?

Also, Mia pointed out the 4 Simple Goals concept is very similar to the “Every Damn Day” list from Yes and Yes. I love this idea and am thinking of starting it this month. Have you tried it?


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Keeping It Simple

When I wrote out my four simple goals post* last November, one of my goals was to streamline my style. And one of my inspirations to achieve that goal is my very own twin sister! Lar has written on becoming more minimalist and I want to emulate that. She’s done a great job paring down her wardrobe to basic, comfortable, but still stylish pieces. Exhibit 1:
magnifying glass

Grey tunic + black leggings and boots = minimalist perfection. (Thanks for the photobomb, Toby)

AsianCajuns Duo boots

Warby Parker glasses • tunic from Target (similar here) • New Look leggings • Duo boots

I’ve gotten into full new years resolution mode and am culling through my closet to become more minimal. It’s a slower process than I imagined and it’s going to take a couple of trips to the thrift store, but I’m determined to simplify my life. Also, for the past few days Lar and I have been going through boxes of our childhood mementos at our parents’ house. We’ve kept so much over the years! It’s been such a daunting task trying to figure out what to keep and what to giveaway that I’m more motivated than ever not to clutter up my current life with stuff.

This is how Lar and I felt once we were finished going through all of the boxes:

Duo boots

Even with hours of box-sorting, it’s been so wonderful these past few weeks having Lar at home. We’ve had lots of quality family time, which usually involves delicious (gluten-free) food and three dogs running around (I have two and my parents have the tiny guy in the photo above). Plus, Lar is here for six more days and then she’ll be flying to Seattle to meet up with Matt for a month before they both fly back to Scotland. Troy and I are going to visit Matt and Lar in Seattle in a few weeks . So it kind of feels like the holidays are continuing well past all the new years celebrations – woohoo!

AsianCajuns glasses

*stay tuned for an upcoming post on our four simple goals recap :)


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Happy 2014!!

heres to a brilliant new year

via

We hope you are as excited as us to ring in the new year. With Lar’s hospitalization and surgery in August, 2013 wasn’t an easy year. We’re looking forward to a healthier, happier year – woohoo! But 2013 wasn’t all bad. Check out some of our highlights:

• Lar got a job!

• We got our own AsianCajuns nail polish color.

• I spent Valentine’s Day with Obama.

• Lar and Matt visited friends in Munich.

• On the same weekend, Lar went to Bordeaux and I went to Denver.

• I won a freakin’ Phillip Lim Bag from Keep.com!

• Lar and Matt became members of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.

• I got to attend a Southern Blog Society brunch, meet some fabulous bloggers, and felt like a million bucks in my Rent the Runway Opening Ceremony dress.

• Lar attended a vintage car rally – so British!

• I showed off my “Dirty Ego” in a photography exhibit and got to work with the talented Leah Roth and Corey Bertrand.

• Lar and Matt rented a Scottish cottage for a long, cozy weekend.

• Toyota gave me a Corolla for an amazing weekend trip in Blue Ridge, GA

• Lar and I spent Thanksgiving together at a beautiful Scottish manor house with a group of wonderful friends.

We’ll be back to regular blogging early next week. Thank you, dear readers, for another wonderful year of AsianCajuns.com!

 

 


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

 

Dear Readers,

I hope you’re having a wonderful day! As I write this (A Christmas Story is playing in the background), Lar is flying over the Atlantic. I’ll be picking her and Matt up at the airport tonight and it’ll be the best Christmas present ever!

See you next week!

xoxo, Cath


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Lar’s Winter Style

Happy Holidays, dear readers! I know most of you are probably already in vacation mode and not regularly checking blogs (or maybe you’re in vacation mode at work and checking your favorite blogs more frequently), but I figured a short post right before Christmas couldn’t hurt.

winter outfit

Pendleton scarf Frye ‘Melissa’ boots • H&M sweater and leggings • legwarmers (similar here)

These photos of Lar are from our Scotland trip last month. I just love how she’s mastered the winter layered look: long sweater tunics, leggings with leg warmers, and a warm scarf. I don’t think I’ve fully mastered winter style yet, but I live in Atlanta so I don’t really have to.

One thing that I have figured out is my favorite new bag: my Fjallraven backpack. I’ve talked about how much I love it so many times that Lar bought her own:

swedish backpack

 Fjallraven backpack

It’s practical and stylish in a kind of Asian tourist/Swedish school kid kind of way. I almost always use it as my purse on the weekends and on trips. Do you have a favorite current bag?

I hope you all are having a relaxing week and bundling up in winter layers while spending time with your friends and family!

__________

Dear Lar,

Only two more days until we’re in the same country again! December has flown by but it still feels like our stay in Auchinleck House last month was ages ago.

Part of me hates how warm it’s been in Atlanta the past few days because it doesn’t feel like Christmas, but I’m also hoping that it stays warm so you and Matt can thaw out a bit. You’ll actually get to see some sun for a few weeks!

See you on Christmas day!

xoxo, Cath

 


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The Non-Gift Gift Guide

As much as I love looking at holiday gift guides I sometimes get overwhelmed by so much stuff. So I figured it was about time for a non-gift gift guide. Instead of buying more stuff, here are some of ideas of things to do this holiday season:

nongift gift guide

Photo credits: beer & cheese / Christmas movie night / Crafternoon / Mark Morris’ nutcracker / reindeer cookies / Christmas market / Stovetop potpourri / cocktail

Go to (or host) a beer & cheese tasting. Troy and I recently went to a Belgian Christmas beer and cheese tasting at The Brick Store a few weeks ago with our friends. It was so much fun trying beers and cheeses we wouldn’t normally eat. Check out this page if you’re interested in hosting your own tasting.

Host a Christmas movie night. For the past two years Troy and I have gotten our friends together to watch Home Alone and eat mac and cheese. If we’re feeling really crazy, we’ll watch A Christmas Story afterwards. Elf, White Christmas, Scrooged, Die Hard, and Love Actually are also great options.

Have a holiday crafternoon. Get some friends together to make your (last minute) gifts. This year, my friend and I made 15 t-shirt scarves for our co-workers. We watched movies, munched on snacks, and spent an afternoon and an evening crafting.

Go see a live performance. The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah, A Christmas Carol are all great options. My family and I love going to see A Christmas Carol at the Shakespeare Tavern in downtown Atlanta. It’s a great performance and you can eat shepherd’s pie and drink Sam Smith beer while watching it.

Bake! I’m not much of a baker, but I always want to make cookies around the holidays. A lot of my friends have done cookie exchanges this year, which sound like a lot of fun. Since Lar isn’t eating much sugar these days I’m planning on making these vegan cookie dough bites and these gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies when she comes into town.

Visit a Christmas Market. This one is a little easier in Europe where almost every major city has a huge month-long Christmas market. Nevertheless, there are some great pop-up, weekend-long markets stateside.

Make your house smell Christmas-y. This weekend I plan on making this stovetop potpourri and I’m going to make a batch to bring over to my parents’ house on Christmas day.

Make a holiday cocktail. As I’m writing this post, I’m sipping on a glass of eggnog that Troy just made me. It’s delicious! I used to never like eggnog because I’d only ever tried the store bought stuff. If homemade eggnog is not your thing, here are a few other holiday cocktail ideas from Martha.

___________________

Dearest Lar,

Have you ever made vegan cookie dough bites before? They actually sound yummy!

We’ll have to do a couple of Christmas movie nights when you get into town.

I can’t believe we’ll get to be together in five days – woohoo!

xoxo, Cath


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The Ultimate Gift-List

Cath-beautiful

I am supposed to do a fantastic/last-minute-ish gift list for you guys. Not that this blog is about “supposed tos” but Cath thought it would be a nice thing to do for you lovies. You know, be helpful bloggers, and not just navel gaze. Well, I’m totally going to be an unhelpful, self-centered blogger and do the latter.

This is about Cath and getting to be her identical twin.

I’ve been living thousands of miles away from Cath for almost 2.5 years now and not for a moment has it gotten easier. I miss the rest of my family and stateside friends so much too, but this is different. My homesickness ebbs and flows, but my twin-sickness (?) is constant. When I try to explain twin-sickness to people, the best I can come up with is that it feels like I’ve left a limb behind. There’s a constant tugging that never ever goes away until I’m close to her again.

I literally feel like my DNA is trying to tell me that because we were essentially the same organism at one time, we were never meant to be more than 30 miles apart from each other once we got past the zygote phase. After more than two years apart (with sparse holidays together scattered in between), I finally realize this is never going to feel easier or better as long as I’m not by her.

So my best Christmas present ever is getting to spend three weeks with Cath this year. And if I made a gift list, this is what it would look like:

AsianCajuns-Cos

So I’m sorry because I know that is the least helpful gift list for anyone else (excluding our parents, me thinks!). I do think though, that the best gift-lists are the ones with people on them, don’t you? I know I’m saying that during the last scramble to get your Christmas shopping done, but I hope it makes you feel a little less harried knowing that even if you don’t find the perfect thing for your wonderful people, they still get you! Mariah Carey, you knew it from the start (or at least early 90s), didn’t you?

——

Dear Cath,

I know future plans are still up in the air, but I wanted you to know how much being together means to me. I can’t wait to see you in just a week and a half! Yahooooooo!!!!


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Skip N’ Whistle Tacky Christmas Sweater T-Shirt

Happy 12 Days ’til Christmas! Time to celebrate with a Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt.

Skip n Whistle Tacky Christmas Sweater tshirt

Skip ‘N Whistle Unicorn Christmas t-shirtCOS cardigan • H&M scarf (similar here)• Old Navy leggings • Asos boots (ancient)

My 2012 Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt was such a hit last year, that as soon as Skip ‘N Whistle offered to send me another one this year I said, “Yes please!!”

I went with the unicorns pattern this year because they’re magical. Christmas + unicorns = unstoppable.

Would you like to purchase yourself a magical t-shirt? You can get it here or check out the other Christmas versions here. My friend said last year she ordered t-shirts for her whole family. Tackiness for the win!

Tacky Christmas Sweater Tshirt

When Troy took these photos of me last weekend, the weather in Atlanta was balmy and so not Christmas-y. I’m happy to say the temps are back down to our seasonal, blustery high 40s (don’t laugh, northern readers!). So it’s feeling a lot more holiday-ish and there’s good reason to order peppermint mochas, hot chocolates and ciders.

I decided to include this photo below to explain my current state of mind:

1.) I’ve been so caught up in work and studying for my final that I haven’t even gotten half of my Christmas shopping done. Twelve days is plenty of time, right?!?!?!

2.) Starbucks peppermint mochas are amazing until about 15 minutes after I finish mine and I start to feel really sick. Does this happen to anyone else or is this just the universe telling me that I should have ordered herbal tea instead?

3.) Really wishing I had some make-up on in these photos. Note to self: carry make-up in purse like a normal woman. A half empty bottle of lip gloss doesn’t count.

what

 

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. Let me know if you get yourself a Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt!

Legal blog necessity: Shirt courtesy of Skip ‘N Whistle. All opinions are my own.

____________________

Dearest Lar,

12 days until Christmas! You know what that means? 12 days until I get to see you!!!!! Yahoo! That’s even better than Christmas. In fact, that’s better than Christmas and unicorns combined!

Skip ‘N Whistle was kind enough to send you a shirt as well, so we’ll have to wear our shirts together when we celebrate!

xoxo, Cath


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Scotland: Country vs City

Lar gave a great overview of our wonderful Thanksgiving trip to the Scottish countryside last week. Auchinleck House was unlike any place I’ve stayed at before. We spent six glorious days drinking tea, reading, watching our favorite tv shows and movies, and walking the countryside.

Scottish countryside

One of the days we spent four hours walking through the mud and cow patties. We thought we were heading towards Robert Burns’ birthplace only to realize we were totally wrong (it was just a memorial). It was exhausting, but really fun.

walking outfit

Chenille sweater (similar here) • Lands End vest • Gap 1969 skinnies • Fyre Melissa Button boots • Fjallraven backpack

I probably should have purchased these Hunters before this trip. Instead I wore my Fryes and they got completely caked in mud.

There was a map in the house that showed a nearby castle ruins. We failed to find them, but we did find some really great bridges – and lots of sheep!

looking for castle ruins in Scotland

You can’t necessarily tell from these photos, but we really lucked out with the weather. It was kind of warm and we saw the sun every once in a while.

walking back to Auchinleck House

For all the loveliness of the countryside, I get antsy if I’ve been away from a city for a few days. So we took a quick day trip to Glasgow and it was wonderful!

on the train to glasgow

Even though I studied abroad in Edinburgh for six month in 2004 and have visited Lar a couple of times, I’ve never spent time in Glasgow. It’s an amazing city – just as wonderful as Edinburgh, but in a less refined, more metropolitan kind of way.

Lar in front of office

Lar and I did a wee bit of shopping (COS, Office, etc.) and then met up with Matt at Starbucks where we finally got someone wifi (which equals civilization to me because I don’t have an international phone plan). I also geeked out a little bit in front of a police call box – The Tardis!

DrWho box Glasgow

J.Crew coat (from the Clearance sale!) • Funktional sweatshirt • Madewell pants • Jeffrey Campbell boots

How amazing are the lights on this street? This is right next to the Gallery of Modern Art and it makes the city feel so magical.

Glasgow lights

It was so much fun to spend a day in the city with my twinie, but it was equally as nice to come back to “our” home in the country and warm up with cups of tea – and the sweaters we bought at COS.

___________

Dearest Lar,

I’m still cherishing our Thanksgiving week together, but it already feels like it was over a month ago! The only good thing about that is that it means you’ll be coming home for Christmas soon.

I just bought your Christmas present today. I almost tweeted about it and then remembered you actually read Twitter ;P

Hope you have a wonderful week! Skype you next weekend.

xoxo, Cath


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AsianCajuns at Auchinleck House

AsianCajuns-Auchinleck

Cath and I spent seven glorious days together at this Georgian estate, once the family seat of biographer James Boswell (not to shabby, Bozzy!):

Auchinleck-house

Auchinleck-house-ary

Isn’t she lovely? We rented her with a dozen other wonderful friends from The Landmark Trust to spend the week reading, watching movies, taking long walks in the Ayrshire countryside and eating and eating and eating. It was all very Jane Austen, if JA wore skinny jeans and watched Lord of the Ring movies on a projector. She must have left those bits out of her Pemberly descriptions.

I still can’t get over how massive the house is. We had 11 people in our party and were constantly loosing each other. The dinning room was cavernous, the library had squashy couches and the kitchen had an industrial stove. What more could you ask for, really?

Auchinleck-house-interiors

Here’s part of the gang eating in the kitchen (yes, even the kitchen is fancy pants ):

Auchinleck-kitchen

And to work off the piles of food and drink, we tramped around the muddy farms surrounding the estate during the day:

auchinleck

moss-time

hawthorne-berries muddy-boots

And then of course, there was the main event: Thanksgiving dinner!

Auchinleck-Thanksgiving

American readers, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too. Canadian, British, et al readers, we hope you are having a wonderful start to the holiday season. Tell us what you’ve been up to this past week.

—–

Dear Cath,

At this very moment you are flying over the Atlantic somewhere — noooooooo. How did that week go by so quickly? I love that we’ve gotten to be together so much this past year for two people living on opposite sides of a ginormous ocean. But somehow I get even more homesick for you when I see you more?! I don’t like it! ARGH!

I know I should stop moaning because I’ll see you in four weeks (yahoo!!!) but I don’t think I’ll be truly happy until we are living within spitting distance of each other again.

Love you to Auchinleck and beyond!!!

Lar


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